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I am beginning to understand the sacredness of time.

Winter is descending on the Rocky Mountains. With the temperatures dropping, the nights growing longer, and my outdoor chores complete, I find myself at the cusp of the transition of the seasons; from the hectic pace of the spring, summer, and fall, to the quiet internal warmth and silence of the winter months. While I now look forward to this time of year, it wasn’t always so. The first several winters I spent in my cabin I rallied against the long dark winter nights by busying myself with seed catalogs, knitting projects, and cooking experiments. Keeping busy meant spring must be around the corner.

Then, as it always happens when I am in need of a life lesson, a book by Katherine May came into my life—Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times.

In an On Being podcast interview with Katherine May (, Krista Tippet described “wintering” as:

“Wintering, as the English writer Katherine May illuminates, is at once a season of the natural world, a respite our bodies require, and a state of mind.”

From the book jacket, “wintering” is described as:

“…the transformative power of rest and retreat. May invites us to change how we related to our own fallow times, finding nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and nourishment in understanding life as cyclical, not linear.”

Reading May’s book totally changed the way I look at, understand, and participate in the long winter months. I no longer try to keep myself busy. Rather, by settling into the stillness, I am beginning to understand the sacredness of time. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes in The Sabbath:

“There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord.”

With the mindset of “wintering.” I have come to look forward to the winter months. “Wintering” provides me time to just be. Time to retreat into the stillness. Time to bask in the blessedness of silence. Time to rest. And most of all—time to sit with my own thoughts and musing, and be bored.

This “wintering,” I am looking inward, retracing my journey thus far, and exploring what transcendence means to me.

Transcendence, as defined by Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD. in his book Transcend—The New Science of Self Actualization is:

“Harnessing all you are in the service of realizing the best version of yourself so that you can help raise the bar for the whole of humanity.”

Likely, it will take me most of the winter months to unpack all that is implied and inferred by that definition. But that’s ok, I have time. However, what I found equally profound is Kaufman’s assertion that transcendence requires wholeness. That while we strive for transcendence, we often lack wholeness, the healthy integration of our other needs, which are necessary in order for us to be successful.

Kaufman defines the essential human concerns/needs as:

  • security

  • commitment

  • love

  • growth

  • meaning

  • authenticity

  • spirituality

  • freedom

  • responsibility

  • courage

  • justice

  • creativity

Having read Kaufman, I realize I have never really thought about preparing to be the best version of myself. I guess I imagined it was here, inside me, waiting to be re-discovered. But looking at this list, I can see that I have work to do.


PS. How do you think about being wholeness? Please add your comments.


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